Belfast Telegraph

Rab's Week: Miley Cyrus is a right twerk

Welcome to the sideways world of our star columnist

By Robert McNeil

Tuesday: Teen rebellion is nothing new...

Has Miley gone yet? The reviews are in but, still, I hide under the blanket, frightened that the controversial chanteuse is going to twerk at me or do something similarly unspeakable.

She has done her worst at the Odyssey Arena and it only remains for top pop experts like your columnist to analyse the situation and add to the general confusion.

Firstly, I was astonished to read that Miley – Ms Cyrus of that ilk – used to be a Disney star. How could she have come so far from the light?

Her show, as you'll have gathered, is jolly rude, making light of the act of procreation, a holy activity normally performed under cover of darkness after strong liquor has been consumed.

In the process Miley (21) is playing upon a deep urge all teenagers have. It is best expressed in the following phrase or motto: "I will do what I want." In retaliation, parents often say: "No, you won't, young lady/man." But this is ill-advised. It only makes them worse.

This teenage urge to explore the boundaries of acceptability is understandable.

The world lies before them. The old is boring, the new exciting.

It's not the bottom-waving in particular that gets them, but the general excitement of spectacle. The act could be anything really, though I accept that a ventriloquist probably wouldn't cut it any more, even while grinding his or her funky stuff.

My researchers inform me that songbird impressions are no longer popular with young folk either. That is sad and surprising to me.

Thinking about it deeply over a cup of strong tea, I conclude: there is only one way to deal with teenagers behaving like this, tell them they will burn in the fiery pits of hell. But, alas, even bunging in the odd "yea" or "lo", has little effect on them nowadays.

They're likely just to cock a snook at you, if that isn't too rude a thing to say in a family newspaper.

But all this stuff keeps coming around. Since the 1950s and the grim discovery of the teenager, musical acts have become exponentially rude. It began with Elvis's shaking leg, which back then was seen as the height of awfulness, but now seems quite endearing.

Today the only hope is that they will run out of ideas as to what do with their bottoms and whatnot for public entertainment.

Wednesday: get stuck into pests

Alas, I shall be washing my ear-hair when the Pestaurant comes to town. But you fill your chubby wee cheeks.

The Pestoraunt, brought to you by Rentokil, offers free food. "What's the catch?" you say. Well, here's the menu: roasted locusts, spiced mealworms, curried crickets, or, for the more sweet-toothed, scorpion lollipops, chocolate-covered bugs or cherry-flavoured ant candy.

The one-day event, at Writers' Square in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter on June 4, aims to raise awareness of pests.

As an accidental vegetarian with fleeting sympathies for Buddhism, I commend this idea.

I do not approve of insects. I'm fed up with ants holding manoeuvres in my back garden. I had to block off a wasp's nest in the roof last year. And I'm permanently at war with clothes-holing moths in the bedroom. Eat them all to death, I say. Just remember to add a bucketload of ketchup.

Friday: Shell hell

Lot of snails in the news. The beasts wreak havoc on one's peonies. And yet most of us are uncomfortable about killing them. The answer, according to scientists: throw them 20 yards away. And they won't return. Oh yes, they will. Because next door will just chuck 'em straight back.

Saturday: Shining a light on a very harsh law

People say write about what you know. But that would kill my career. Many things I didn't know feature in The Little Book of Belfast by Raymond O'Regan and Arthur Magee.

One factoid in particular struck me: anyone caught stealing any part of a street lamp in the city could be transported for seven years or publicly whipped.

How desperate would you have to be to risk that? "I really fancy a bit of street lamp. But, Jeez, being whipped or transported. Oh, to hell, I'll give it a go."

I don't think so. The law was tough, if disproportionate, back then.

Sunday: Lose weight... just eat less

There's so much weight loss around that the world could be tipped off its axis. Fortunately, there are enough bloaters waddling about to even things up, so we owe them a debt of gratitude.

Irish entertainer Adele King, also known as Twink, crossed over to the side of light when she shed four stone and two pounds. Bearing out what this column has frequently said, the secret, as Twink told the Sunday Independent, is simple: "Just eat less."

And if you need more motivation, consider this: "When the time comes, it will be cheaper to get a smaller box with brass handles."

Monday: I'm feeling less than charitable about fat cats

I would like more money, please. What, you too? Let's put our heads together and see what we can come up with.

I know, let's become heads of charities. The Bele Tele revealed that, in Northern Ireland, some of them get humungous salaries.

How can this be? Simple folk like you and I say: "Surely, the money would be better spent on the folk the charity is supposed to help?"

But the sophisticated organisations offer this sophistry: "We need to attract the best, which makes the organisation prosper, which benefits the recipients."

Best, in their eyes, means greediest. The whole argument is specious, circular and amoral. It's a fat cat culture that feeds off itself.

It's one rule for them (prosperity) and another for us (austerity). Well, all ruling classes need to be deposed once in a while. Then they can set up their own charity: The Fat Cats Protection League.

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